While 120 Lok Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar hold the key to BJPs bid for power at the Centre in the general elections next year,the pace of party preparations in the two states presents contrasting pictures. In Uttar Pradesh,politically the most crucial for the saffron party,no district-level rally has taken place so far while in Bihar the party has already held 19 such rallies.
We have completed district-level rallies in 19 districts and plan to complete three more by October 3 after which we will start preparing for the October 27 Hunkar Rally in Patna to be addressed by Narendra Modi. After October 3,we will hold block and panchayat-level meetings in 12 districts around Patna to mobilise support for the October 27 rally. The rallies for the remaining districts will be taken up after Hunkar Rally, former Bihar deputy chief minister and senior party leader Sushil Kumar Modi told The Indian Express.
He claimed each of these rallies saw gatherings of up to 15,000 people. Apart from him,senior party leaders from the state Ravi Shankar Prasad,Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaz Hussain have been regularly participating in these rallies.
In contrast,party sources from Uttar Pradesh said there has been no district-level rally till now in the state,where the party seems to be relying on the charisma of Narendra Modi and his key aide Amit Shah,who is the general secretary in charge of the state.
All that the party leaders from the state highlight is that the BJPs prime ministerial candidate has planned to start addressing rallies in the state before he begins in Bihar.
Our entire focus appears to be on the eight rallies of Narendra Modi in different parts of the state and one mega rally in Lucknow, said a senior leader from the state. The first three rallies will be held in Kanpur,Jhansi and Bahraich. The other venues are Gorakhpur,Meerut,Aligarh,Bareilly and Varanasi.
Please note,these rallies will be held in the states urban centres (except Bahraich),where the party has had substantial presence. The party needs strengthening in the rural areas of the state, said a leader,underlining how these rallies by Modi could not be a replacement of what the partys Bihar unit has been able to do in the past three months.
Party sources admit this is a poor reflection on the partys weakened organisation in Uttar Pradesh,which has 80 seats in the Lok Sabha. It was this realisation that got party president Rajnath Singh to depute Shah as general secretary in-charge of the state to revive the party unit. However,party sources claimed it did not appear to make much difference with initial tension between Shah and another party general secretary Varun Gandhi.
Initially,what we gathered,there appeared a clash brewing between Shah and Varun. So much that over 30 MLAs supporting Varun sought to mount pressure on Shah. However,the party leadership intervened and a working relationship was struck between both the leaders, confided a BJP functionary.